“Either run from it or learn from it.”
This has been the motto and mission of The Simba Life as I’ve used it since its birth in 2006. My inspiration for the name, as described here, came from The Lion King, but I’ve long desired to wrestle the Simba name and its connotations away from Disney’s grasp and forge for it a new identity. As the Swahili word for lion, simba has a rich etymological heritage that demands to be explored. What does it mean to be a simba? And what does it mean to live the simba life?
Lions aren’t cartoon characters; they are ancient and majestic creatures, both endangered and dangerous. They are always on the hunt: for food and water, for shade, for new territory. Their search, like that of the Simba of Disney’s imagination, is elemental as much as it is existential. They search because they have to. They need food and water and land like Simba needed escape and discovery and revelation. We humans are also searching for something elemental and existential, whether we know it or not.
The Simba Life isn’t just a place on the internet; it’s a perspective. And since lions don’t roam alone, it’s a perspective I want to share with others who, like me, are wandering through the wilderness with uncertainty and wonder.
Which brings us to Simba Life Quarterly. As a way to expand The Simba Life beyond the confines of a lone voice, I want to produce a quarterly compilation of the work of many authors that lives out the Simba Life creed in different and illuminating ways. Short stories, essays, poetry, photography, film reviews, cultural commentary, songs, artwork–whatever medium it takes to illustrate The Simba Life will be welcome.
Just as life itself has its seasons, so too will Simba Life Quarterly: the plan now is to release a new issue on each equinox and solstice, with the theme for each edition being the season into which it is transitioning. For the first issue, then, the spring equinox on March 20 makes “the coming of spring” an excellent and welcome motif amidst a brutal winter. The theme of spring won’t necessarily to be explicit in the contributions, but it will be in the DNA.
Indeed, with so many unknowns about how it will look and who will contribute, the SLQ will be a free, digital-only PDF publication, with this blog serving as a supplemental space for contributed content and my own ambles. If you or someone you know would be interested in contributing your own work of art, please contact me at thesimbalife at gmail dot com so we can talk about it.
Though its name might suggest otherwise, I don’t want this to become a stuffy literary magazine or merely an outlet for repressed English majors (ahem). It might be literary, but it also might be absurd, irreverent, witty, acerbic, playful, profound, or something else entirely. I don’t know what it will look like, but hakuna matata, right?
I have no idea how this journey will end. But it has begun, and despite my own apprehensions, I have to either run from it or learn from it. Here’s to hoping you’ll join me in making that choice.